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Milk Thistle Seed

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 15, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Milk Thistle Seed


Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) is a plant relative to the daisy family and is native to the regions of the Mediterranean, in Europe, Middle East and also in North Africa. The plant is tall and the leaves are large and alternate. The flowers are disc shaped and can be found in a variety of colors like pink, purple and white. There is only one flower that grows in a stem. The fruit of the Milk Thistle is colored black with black colored Milk Thistle seeds.
The Milk Thistle seed is just one of the parts of the Milk Thistle plant that is used for medicinal purposes. It can also be called Holy Thistle, Lady’s Thistle or Variegated Thistle.

History and Origin

The name Milk Thistle was from the characteristic of the Milk Thistle plant mainly the leaves have splashes of white color and also contain a milky white colored sap. The Milk Thistle seed has been considered a cure for liver diseases and also have the ability to protect the liver from the accumulation of toxins.

Ancient Uses

During ancient times, edible Milk Thistle was used by the Greek physician Dioscorides as a treatment for ascites, hepatitis, kidney and liver diseases when he was a physician in the Roman Army. There is much reverence given to the Milk Thistle in Germany where it is considered a touch of healing from the Virgin Mary’s milk.

Modern Uses

In modern times, the Milk Thistle seed is used in many herbal remedies and treatments and this is due to the powerful antioxidants that are found in this herb. It is effective in the treatment of liver diseases plus it can help in restoring liver cells to their previous state of health. It can also help prevent liver damage. It is effective in the treatment and cure for chronic liver diseases, acute hepatitis, viral hepatitis and also many other types of kidney diseases. Fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis due to chronic alcoholism are also treated with Milk Thistle seed extracts.

The Milk Thistle seed also contains Betaine that is considered a glutathione regenerator, healing the body from illnesses.
The Milk Thistle seed extract can also counter lead and zinc poisoning and also mushroom poisoning. Milk Thistle seed preparations can also help in patients with cardiac ailments, immune system disorder and also delays the onset of diabetes.

Milk Thistle seed preparations and dietary supplements are made from whole seeds. They are ground and made into powder, or they are available in tablet or capsule form. It is also available in alcohol or glycerin extracts or tinctures.

Side Effects

Milk Thistle seeds may cause mild diarrhea and gastric irritation since it stimulates the release of bile. If you would like to use Milk Thistle seed preparations for the treatment of liver disease and other illnesses, it is best to consult your doctor regarding the dosage and any adverse effects in the medications you are currently taking.

Milk Thistle seeds are not safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. There is also little research regarding the effectiveness and safety for use in very young children.

Read also: Perimenopause and Hair Loss

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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